The Weeknd, who makes a cameo in the Safdie brothers’ upcoming film Uncut Gems, reportedly collaborated with Oneohtrix Point Never – who composed the movie’s soundtrack – on music that was intended for use in the crime thriller.
The Toronto R&B star – real name Abel Tesfaye – went into the studio with the experimental electronic producer – real name Daniel Lopatin – and “made like four or five amazing tracks”, Josh Safdie revealed in an interview with Variety.
Tesfaye – whom Safdie described as “a friend of ours” and “a real cinephile” – was initially supposed to perform one of those original songs in his cameo. Per Variety, in his Uncut Gems scene, Tesfaye performs in a nightclub as himself circa 2012, the year after he released his influential debut mixtape ‘House of Balloons’. In the script, one character mentions how this then-underground singer has the makings of a star – “even though he’s from Canada”.
Instead of one of the new songs Tesfaye made with Lopatin, though, the Safdies and the singer agreed that the performance “should be a time capsule”. Ultimately, Tesfaye appears in the film singing ‘The Morning’, a track from ‘House of Balloons’, in a “real, live performance”, according to Safdie.
“That was something that he didn’t have to do, but he’s like, ‘I want this to be real,’” Safdie said. “It added to the energy of the whole room. Everybody was so excited. You can just feel it bleeding out of the screen.”
Safdie also revealed that this will not be the last time the Safdie brothers work together with Tesfaye. “We’re gonna work again on a bigger thing, still to be determined,” he said. “He has a desire for the silver screen – he really, really, really cherishes that. It’s awesome.”
Uncut Gems stars Adam Sandler as an acquisitive, charismatic jeweller in Manhattan’s diamond district. Its cast also includes former basketball star Kevin Garnett, Julia Fox, Broadway and Frozen star Idina Menzel, Lakeith Stanfield, Noa Fisher and more. It was executive produced by Martin Scorsese.
Uncut Gems screened at Telluride Film Festival last week, and has just screened at Toronto International Film Festival. A24 will release the film in the USA on December 13.